THE BIG MONEYMEN OF PALESTINE INC. If refugee camps come to mind when you think of Palestinians, meet these entrepreneurs. A new state is years away -- at the earliest -- but these men would shape its economy.

(FORTUNE Magazine) – SCATTERED from Amman to Atlanta, they form a global community of wealth and power united by a single cause. They are the Palestinian entrepreneurs, and no group has done more to press Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Liberation Organization to adopt policies of moderation. Of the estimated 3.2 million Palestinians outside Israel and the occupied territories, they are the most visible. They favor prosperity over military power. If a new Palestinian state is born -- an event years away at best -- their money and expertise will shape its economy. They include the president of the largest private bank in the Arab world, ! owners of the Middle East's leading private international construction company, the architect of Kuwait's hugely successful investment policy, and an American real estate developer who owns the Ritz-Carlton hotels in New York City and Washington, D.C., and who relaxes on a 980-acre estate on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Mostly sons of wealthy Moslem and Christian traders and farmers who lost nearly everything in the 1948 war with Israel, they went into exile with one priceless asset -- education. Many were students or recent graduates of universities in Cairo and Beirut when the war broke out. Says Abdul Muhsen al- Qattan, a Kuwait-based engineering contractor: ''We discovered early that the only ticket that counts in life is education.'' Though education provided a head start, exile motivated them in much the same way the Diaspora inspired 19th-century Jews. Says Munib al-Masri, president of the Amman-based EDGO engineering company: ''If I hadn't been forced to start from scratch, I might be running one of my family's stores in Nablus today.'' Most of them support the Intifada, the nearly two-year-old uprising against Israeli control in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But the entrepreneurs also understand that the uprising has spread misery among Palestinians. They want something better. Says M. S. Barakat, an electrical contractor in Kuwait: ''My dream is to put on a hard hat and work as a construction manager in Palestine.'' He may ultimately get the chance to start over again -- this time back home.

DREAMS OF A PAN-ARAB MARKET IZZEDIN ARYAN, 52 Not all the Palestinian entrepreneurs left home. Those still grinding it out in the occupied territories have the same acumen and tenacity as those in exile, if not the private jets and impressionist paintings. Because they operate in a tiny market -- you could call it a captive one -- their businesses are small. For them the dream is to be able to sell all over the Middle East. They feel hemmed in by what they see as needless Israeli restrictions. But they are also limited by tariffs and other barriers erected by Arab states. Izzedin Aryan, chairman of Balsam Pharmaceutical, the West Bank's largest drug manufacturer, insists his sales of less than $1 million a year would soar in a free market. Says he: ''We not only have a ceiling on how big our businesses can get, we have a ceiling on our ambitions in life.'' Aryan is a pharmacist who got into manufacturing by accident. After graduating from Damascus University, he opened a pharmacy in 1963 in Ramallah in what was then Jordan. He sold drugs mostly imported from the U.S. and Europe. After Israel occupied the West Bank following the 1967 war, new regulations forced Palestinian pharmacies to buy drugs manufactured in Israel or sold through Israeli agents. As a protest, a group of pharmacists led by Aryan decided to produce their own. In a room above his shop, Aryan began by making a salve for diaper rash, mixing the ingredients and stuffing tubes himself. A thriving drug industry grew in the West Bank and Gaza. Its problem is the severe limitations on exports. Jordan, the West Bank's gateway to the rest of the Middle East, accepts exports of drugs only if they are made from raw materials brought into the West Bank through Jordan. The Palestinians claim that Israeli border guards use a variety of regulations to impede the flow of those raw materials, though the Israeli government says it has no such policy. Aryan has headaches besides exports. As head of the Red Crescent Society, the Palestinian equivalent of the Red Cross, he is a prominent figure in West Bank politics. Last year he was jailed for six months, then released without being charged. Under Israeli military law, authorities in the occupied territories have the power to detain Palestinians for up to half a year without filing specific charges. Even so he remains a strong advocate of a peaceful settlement: ''We'd have access both to Israel and to an Arab market of 120 million consumers that's now dominated by weak local companies and expensive European products.'' For Aryan and others in the occupied territories, peace is the path to profits.

SOARING WITH THE ARAB OIL BOOM SAID KHOURY, 65 Son of a wealthy Christian plantation owner in Galilee, Said Khoury (his first name is pronounced sah-EED) was a young construction engineer when Israeli troops captured his family's sprawling orange groves in 1948. Broken by the war, Khoury's father spent his days at the Syrian border gazing through a telescope at his land, which by then was a kibbutz. Exile had the opposite effect on the son, who took a job in Syria to support his newly penniless parents. ''I started working 15 hours a day,'' he says. ''If I'd stayed in Palestine, I would have been spoiled. My father never wanted me to work hard.'' In 1952, Khoury and two partners, including current Chairman Hasib Sabbagh, formed Consolidated Contractors Co. with $30,000 of borrowed money. They based the company in Aden -- now South Yemen -- for a simple reason. It was the boondocks of the Persian Gulf then, and competitors were few. Says Khoury: ''Anybody with a homeland would never have lived there.'' The new company became a subcontractor to Bechtel, the U.S. engineering giant that was building Aden's first oil refinery. A warm friendship grew between Khoury and Stephen Bechtel Sr., the company's longtime chief. Says Khoury: ''His common touch matched the Arab way of doing business.'' After the Aden project, CCC worked on a variety of mammoth construction jobs, including the $1.5 billion port city of Jubail in Saudi Arabia, a 500- mile eight-lane highway in Oman, and most of Kuwait's oil refineries. At the peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s, CCC was earning $100 million a year on $500 million in revenues. When oil prices plummeted, such returns vanished. While losses mounted, Khoury managed to maintain offices, staffed with planners, engineers, and laborers, in eight Arab countries. His white-knuckle strategy is starting to pay off. With the rise in oil prices and the end to the Iran-Iraq war, he says, ''the megaprojects are coming back.'' Although CCC is now based in Athens, Khoury spends most of his time traveling around the Persian Gulf. His home in Kuwait is filled with Oriental antiques and Persian rugs. It sits in a company compound, jammed with workers' trailers, at the edge of a sprawling oil refinery. To relax, Khoury hunts grouse in Scotland or lounges at his English estate in Surrey, complete with stables and a tennis court. Married to a Palestinian woman for 40 years, Khoury longs for a homeland mainly for the sake of his five children. ''When I was young, the Gulf countries needed us,'' he says. ''Now they're sending their own children to college. They may not need my children.''

''ABOVE ALL, WE LOVE BEING ARABS'' ABDUL MAJEED SHOMAN, 77 The Arab Bank -- the biggest private bank in the Middle East, with assets of $13 billion -- operates branches from Amman to Zurich that arrange everything from home mortgages to leveraged buyouts. Dapper, silver-haired Abdul Majeed Shoman runs the show with the same entrepreneurial zeal and personal touch as his father, the founder. Shoman is at his desk in Amman, Jordan, six days a week at 6:30 A.M. He prides himself on attending weddings, funerals, and birthday parties of important clients. ''I may not be as good as my father in business,'' he says. ''But I sure work as hard.'' Father was Abdul Hameed Shoman, an Arabian Horatio Alger hero. A stonecutter from a village near Jerusalem, he migrated to the U.S. in 1911. Starting as a necktie peddler, he soon owned a women's underwear factory in Manhattan's garment district. His prodigious memory absorbed the phone numbers of large numbers of his New York clients. In 1929, with $75,000, he returned to Palestine to pursue a lifelong dream. Most banks in the region were owned by Europeans. He launched the first Palestinian Arab bank. A barrel-chested dynamo, he could be found guarding the door to the bank just before his death in 1974 at 84, refusing entry to employees with long hair, whom he called ''hippies.'' Born in Jerusalem six months after his father left for America, Shoman met him for the first time upon arrival in New York at age 12. He idolized his father, commissioning a 350-page biography of the great man entitled The Indomitable Arab and putting his face on the bank's traveler's checks. Growing up in the U.S., Shoman picked up a lifetime passion unusual for an Arab -- baseball. He religiously scans the box scores in the International Herald Tribune and when in New York always heads for Yankee Stadium. After graduating from New York University in 1936, he returned to Amman as his father's top lieutenant. Together they started creating a banking network across the Arab world. On taking over in the 1950s, Shoman moved aggressively into Europe. The bank now has 350 branches and subsidiaries in 45 countries. It earned more than $80 million in 1988. ''Above all,'' Shoman says, ''we love being Arabs. I consider myself an Arab first and a Palestinian second.'' Though the bank's shares are publicly quoted, he tries to restrict their sale to Arabs. He has had great success backing Palestinian entrepreneurs, including the big builders in the Gulf States and the Palestinian businessmen who form the backbone of Jordan's economy. Many got their first loans from the Arab Bank. The bank even put $100 million into the recent RJR Nabisco deal. Leveraged buyouts? To the elder Shoman they would have seemed as far out as long hair.

A $100 MILLION TICKET TO FREEDOM MOHAMED HADID, 40 A real estate developer based near Washington, Mohamed Hadid traces his roots to Daher al-Omar Alziadani, the Bedouin tribesman who used a scimitar to carve ( Palestine -- however briefly -- from the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century. Born in Nazareth during the 1948 war, Hadid grew up in Damascus and Beirut, where his father -- a former literature professor -- worked for Voice of America. ''My father got a job because he was well educated,'' he says. ''The Palestinian farmers didn't know about anything but farming. When they lost their land, they ended up in refugee camps.'' His father's transfer to VOA headquarters brought the family to Washington, D.C., when Hadid was 14. After dropping out of a graduate program at MIT, he worked for a time as a draftsman, then on a whim took off for the Greek island of Rhodes. He opened a splashy nightclub that became one of Europe's trendiest watering holes. In the oil-booming 1970s he plowed his profits into a company that exported construction equipment from the U.S. to Europe and the Middle East. In 1980 he moved into U.S. real estate, putting up deluxe office buildings in downtown Washington. He developed a shrewd eye for spotting properties that could be rezoned into more valuable parcels. Recently he paid $150 million for the Ritz-Carlton hotels in New York and Washington, and beat out Donald Trump to purchase a prime site for a resort in Aspen, Colorado. Hadid's philosophy is a variation of the old buy low and sell high. He buys high and sells higher. Says Hadid: ''I favor places where land is very expensive. We take expensive sites and make them worth even more.'' Married with two daughters, 5 and 8, Hadid is a devout Moslem who never drinks and who fasts during the holy month of Ramadan. He's even building a new mosque for Washington's Moslem community. His lifestyle is as luxurious as his taste in real estate. A seasoned pilot, he flies his Navajo Piper on weekends to Pokety Farms, his 980-acre country estate on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Built by auto magnate Walter Chrysler in the 1920s, Pokety features an immense main house that can accommodate 200 for dinner, a guest house with its own bowling alley, and a four-hole golf course. Says one of Hadid's lieutenants: ''The caretaker's home looks like Tara in Gone With the Wind.'' Has his Palestinian heritage spurred him to succeed? ''The Palestinians are like the Jews,'' says Hadid. ''Everything was taken away from them. So they try to become better businessmen to free themselves from the stereotype and build a new life.'' With a net worth estimated at $100 million, Hadid should be free indeed.

A CIVIL SERVANT TURNED MASTER BUILDER JAWEED AL-GHUSSEIN, 58 For 25 stormy years most of the world's Palestinians have looked to the PLO as a government-in-exile. The equivalent of a minister of finance is Jaweed al- Ghussein, a courtly, mustachioed building contractor from Abu Dhabi whose picture appears on the opening page of this story. Working as a volunteer, he must collect money that Arab states promise but are slow to pay, and at the same time try to curb the openhandedness of Yasser Arafat. ''He cannot turn down any Palestinian who comes to him for money for any reason,'' he says. Al- Ghussein gets no salary but does have two full-time bodyguards paid by the PLO. Son of a wealthy orange grower from Gaza, he fled to Egypt in 1948 to study economics at the American University. There he met Arafat, a student at Cairo University. ''He actually cared about his appearance in those days,'' recalls al-Ghussein of the now ascetic, unkempt PLO leader. ''He was cleanshaven, wore British suits, and even had girlfriends.'' With a diploma and savings of $240, al-Ghussein arrived in Kuwait to work as an English translator for the government. While still a civil servant, he persuaded the Palestinian owners of a large contracting firm to let him borrow their company's name to bid for a $400,000 contract to supply the government with bran for bread, and insecticides to fight locusts. Clearing $40,000, he launched an engineering company. In the mid-1960s he moved his company to Abu Dhabi. Today the city is the thriving capital of the United Arab Emirates, with a mini-Manhattan skyline. In those days, however, it was a remote village of 3,000 fishermen living in huts thatched with palm leaves. As the government poured oil revenues into construction, al-Ghussein's Cordoba Co. cleaned up building water pipelines, military camps, and hospitals, as well as the $32 million National Library. In the early 1980s, Cordoba earned some $10 million a year on revenues of $130 million; the company is still making healthy though smaller profits. The PLO ran a $100 million deficit last year. Al-Ghussein is counting on the wily Arafat to close it. As head of the Fatah guerrilla group, Arafat controls a secret fund. The money presumably is raised from many of the same sources the PLO taps -- Arab governments, wealthy Palestinians -- but less openly. Al- Ghussein and other entrepreneurs say they don't know where it comes from. While estimates put Fatah's holdings in the billions, Palestinian businessmen say the figure is closer to $500 million. Married and with two grown children, al-Ghussein divides his time between a ranch-style house in Abu Dhabi and a luxurious two-acre estate with a pool in suburban London. But like most wealthy Palestinians, he says he'd settle for a much more modest life in his homeland. ''I have certain ideas about the way villages and cities should look,'' says al-Ghussein. ''I'd like to play a role in rehabilitating Palestine.'' The lessons learned building Abu Dhabi could come in handy.

MASTER OF THE MONEY GAME KHALED ABU SUUD, 58 For decades Kuwait has impressed the investment world from New York City to Tokyo. The man behind the kingdom's high-performing $80 billion portfolio is Khaled Abu Suud, a mild-mannered, scholarly Palestinian who long ago was given the rare honor of Kuwaiti citizenship. Says he: ''We were ahead of the other Arab states by 25 years in the technology of investment.'' Abu Suud grew up in a stone house near the Dome of the Rock, the mosque built atop the site of the ancient Hebrew temple in Jerusalem. He went to Cairo in 1948 after his brother was killed in a skirmish with the Israelis. Egypt was offering free college tuition to Palestinians. He graduated from Cairo University's business school and migrated to Kuwait to teach. In 1956 he joined what is now the ministry of finance and shortly began working out the investment plan that has changed little since then. After his boss, finance minister Jabir al-Sabah, became Kuwait's Emir in 1978, Abu Suud followed him to the palace as financial adviser. Kuwait spreads its holdings across all the world's major markets. It also invests for the long term, favoring companies -- and countries -- that are rich in such tangible assets as oil, minerals, and prime real estate. Among his biggest coups: paying some $350 million in 1974 for a stake in West German automaker Daimler-Benz that is now worth more than $2.5 billion. When the shares of newly privatized British Petroleum drifted below the offering price, Kuwait bought $5.2 billion worth for a profit of $700 million 18 months later. Something like a modest civil servant, Abu Suud lives in an unpretentious suburban house. His main luxury is cars. Crowding the driveway are a Cadillac, a Mercedes, and a BMW. He occasionally plays the Arab card game basrah, but % loses interest after 15 minutes. His passion is the intellectual challenge of money management. Financial journals are his favorite bedtime reading. He's even passed his love for investing to his children. Three are working as money managers. ''My son who went to Wharton sees me as old-fashioned,'' says Abu Suud. ''I admit he's highly educated. But he needs more practice.'' The chip might practice listening to the old block.

THE TALL TEXAN FROM THE WEST BANK MUNIB AL-MASRI, 54 If Palestinians had a good-will ambassador, he would be Munib al-Masri, a London-based engineering contractor. A trim former marathoner, al-Masri has the hearty handshake and rugged charm to outshine even his old Texas college buddies. In quieter moments, he is an eloquent spokesman for moderation. ''I used to be angry,'' he says. ''I thought that Palestine was stolen from us. But we businessmen have traveled, mellowed, and become more sophisticated. We don't want to waste the coming years the way we squandered the past.'' Al-Masri is from a renowned trading family of Nablus, a West Bank city north of Jerusalem. In 1952, at 17, he left for the University of Texas. Arriving in New York, his pockets bulging with three hundred $2 bills, al-Masri waddled to a taxi stand. ''Take me to Texas!'' he told the astonished cabdriver, who dropped him at the Greyhound bus terminal. ''Every stop on the three-day trip I thought was Texas,'' jokes al-Masri. In his junior year he eloped to New Mexico with a fellow geology major. Her family objected -- until he charmed the matriarch, a 96-year-old descendant of Robert E. Lee. Al-Masri and his wife, Angela, have six children, 16 to 34. Settling in Jordan, al-Masri took a job with Phillips Petroleum exploring for oil. When all his holes turned up dry, he decided to look for water instead. Water exploration was a primitive business, dominated by nomads with divining rods. In 1959, backed with $2 million from the Arab Bank, he founded Engineering & Development Group, one of the first companies in the region to explore for water using geological mapping. The company made the first major water discoveries in Jordan, then in the late 1960s moved into the deserts of the Gulf States. At its peak in the late 1970s, it was earning some $15 million a year on revenues of $150 million. Though revenues have slipped by about half, al-Masri says that business is finally starting to pick up. Al-Masri divides his time between London and Amman, where his company has its two most important offices. An avid jogger and tennis player, he also collects impressionist and Old Master paintings. But mostly he uses his wealth to promote the Palestinian cause. The company gives more than a million dollars a year to various Palestinian groups. Al-Masri pays the tuition of 70 Palestinian college students throughout the world. Along with Shoman and CCC Chairman Hasib Sabbagh, he set up the Welfare Association, a foundation in Geneva that provides aid to the West Bank and Gaza. ''Our anger has faded,'' he says. ''But the passion and determination haven't dimmed.'' Texas should have such an advocate.